Friends of New Germany

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Friends of New Germany
SuccessorGerman American Bund
FormationJuly 1933
FounderHeinz Spanknöbel
DissolvedDecember 1935
HeadquartersNew York City, United States

Friends of New Germany, sometimes called Friends of the New Germany, was an organization founded in the United States by German immigrants to support National Socialism and the Third Reich. National Socialists outside of Germany made considerable efforts to establish an American counterpart organization. Recruiting commenced as early as 1924 with the formation of the Free Society of Teutonia.

In May 1933, the Deputy Führer, Rudolf Hess, gave German immigrant and German National Socialist German Workers Party (NSDAP) member Heinz Spanknöbel authority to form an American National Socialist organization.[1] The result was the creation of the Friends of New Germany in July 1933, although at least one newspaper article from April 1933 discusses their existence and also states that they held a lease which expired in May of that year, indicating that the group existed before the official date. An article from the time states that they were mostly German war veterans who supported the current republican government of Germany at the time of writing.[2] Colonel Edwin Emerson acted as a spokesman for the group in April of that year, but later denied this in December. Colonel Emerson claimed that he had no connection to the German government, despite also being a correspondent for no less than 36 German government-controlled papers.[3]

Assistance was given to its formation by the German consul in the City of New York.[1] The organization took over the membership of two older pro-Hitler organizations in the United States, the Free Society of Teutonia and Gau-USA. The new entity was based in New York City, but had a strong presence in Chicago, Illinois.[1]

The Friends of New Germany was led by Spanknöbel and was openly pro-Hitler, and engaged in activities such as storming the German language newspaper New Yorker Staats-Zeitung with the demand that National Socialist-sympathetic articles be published, the infiltration of other non-political German-American organizations, and the use of propaganda to counter the Jewish boycott of businesses in the heavily German neighborhood of Yorkville, Manhattan.[4] Members wore a uniform, a white shirt and black trousers for men with a black hat festooned with a red symbol. Women members wore a white blouse and a black skirt.[5]

In an internal battle for control of the Friends, Spanknöbel was soon ousted as leader, and in October 1933 he was deported because he had failed to register as a foreign agent.[1]

At the same time, Congressman Samuel Dickstein (D-NY) was Chairman of the Committee on Naturalization and Immigration, where he became aware of the substantial number of foreigners legally and illegally entering and residing in the country, and the growing anti-Semitism along with vast amounts of anti-Semitic literature being distributed in the country. This led him to investigate independently the activities of National Socialism and other fascist groups. This led to the formation of the Special Committee on Un-American Activities Authorized to Investigate National Socialist Propaganda and Certain Other Propaganda Activities. Throughout the rest of 1934, the Committee conducted hearings, bringing before it most of the major figures in the US fascist movement.[6] Dickstein's investigation concluded that the Friends represented a branch of German dictator Adolf Hitler's NSDAP in America.[7][8]

The organization existed into the mid-1930s with a membership of between 5,000-10,000, consisting mostly of German citizens living in America and German emigrants who only recently had become citizens.[1] In December 1935, Rudolf Hess recalled the group's leaders to Germany and ordered all German citizens to leave the Friends of New Germany.[1] By March 1936, Friends of New Germany was dissolved and its membership transferred to the newly-formed German American Bund, the new name being chosen to emphasise the group's American credentials after press criticism that the organisation was unpatriotic.[9] The Bund was to consist only of American citizens of German descent.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Jim Bredemus. "American Bund - The Failure of American Nazism: The German-American Bund's Attempt to Create an American "Fifth Column"". TRACES. Archived from the original on 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2011.
  2. ^ The Jewish Telegraph Agency, April 30th 1933.
  3. ^ The Jewish Telegraph Agency, December 3rd 1933
  4. ^ Hawkins, Richard A. (2010), "The internal politics of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights, 1933–1939", Management & Organizational History, 5 (2): 251–78, doi:10.1177/1744935910361642Hawkins, Richard A. (2010), "The internal politics of the Non-Sectarian Anti-Nazi League to Champion Human Rights, 1933–1939", Management & Organizational History, 5 (2): 251–278, doi:10.1177/1744935910361642
  5. ^ IMDb Biography for Fritz Kuhn
  6. ^ Chip Berlet, Matthew Nemiroff Lyons (2000). Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort. Guilford Press. ISBN 978-1-57230-562-5.
  7. ^ Shaffer, Ryan (Spring 2010). "Long Island Nazis: A Local Synthesis of Transnational Politics". 21 (2). Journal of Long Island History. Retrieved 2010-11-19.
  8. ^ Investigation on un-American Propaganda Activities in the United States
  9. ^ Wolter, Erik V.; Masters, Robert J. (2004). Loyalty On Trial: One American's Battle With The FBI. New York: iUniverse. p. 65. ISBN 9780595327034.
  10. ^ Van Ells, Mark D. (August 2007). Americans for Hitler – The Bund. America in WWII. 3. pp. 44–49. Retrieved May 13, 2016.

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